September can be a painful month sometimes. The first few years were the hardest. Sometimes I have it pushed so far down that it doesn't come to the surface. More often than not, I don't have it pushed down far enough and it hits me when I'm not expecting it.
It's been 7 years. I still remember it like it was yesterday. Last thing I said to him was something along the lines of "Pick up some limes on the way and get your ass over here!". Typical. When I got back to his house the next morning, I knew something had happened, something bad. Very bad.
I met Dan 21 years ago in the barracks at Memphis. He had just turned 20 and I was going to be 19 in a few months. The friendship that started that fall would last a lifetime. Even though our travels would take us to Japan, the middle East, Indian Ocean, and through months of Desert Storm, once we got back to solid ground the friendship would always be there waiting. He was my best man, my drinking buddy. We golfed, skied, cycled, chased women, and managed to always stay just out of trouble. He pointed me in the right direction when my second marriage failed. I was going to move in with him. I had moved in... on that horrible weekend before the accident. He was honest, the best friend you could ever ask for. Dan was all that and more... he was like a brother to me. He was at his peak, I was at my low... I would have traded places with him if I could.
If I knew he was going to get on his Connie, I would have talked him out of it. It was pouring hard where I was at and it was heading his way. He stopped under an overpass because the rain had stopped the traffic due to an accident. Some delinquents drove onto the emergency lane and clipped a pair of other motorcycles before they hit him. He wasn't even on the bike. His Connie had almost no damage. He was hit from behind and never saw it coming. I used to see the chain of events all the time, like I was there watching in slow motion. Despite what they said, I don't think that he ever regained any awareness. The machines kept him alive while his body was trying to let go. I can still see him lying there...
It's been 7 years since I lost my best friend, but he's here with me every day.